To refresh my brain and energize my creative juices, I took advantage of the fabulous Georgia temps in the 60’s today and skipped out in the middle of working on galleys to take a short walk. This is my first real walk in 8 weeks as I continue to have synovitis of the ankle that has left my foot sore and swollen, despite the physical therapy that I’m currently putting myself though.
Almost instantly I am reminded of why I love being outdoors. The first leg of my walk took me to our open field that’s preserved for wildlife and wildflowers. Of course, since it’s the end of February, there are no flowers, only constantly cawing of five black shiny crows strutting along the edge of the park bench who distracts me as I take a seat. After adjusting my shoelaces, I watch as they come close, apparently not afraid of me in the least. Two of them fly off to the center of the field in delight of their afternoon snack they’ve found, which left the other three squeaking and flapping their wings in an argumentative tone as though in discussion of their two friends.
Since it is nearly March, my mind is filled with thoughts of sadness, memories and tenderness of my mother and others of my family. March 2nd would have been her 99th birthday had she not died 11 years ago. My father was buried on March 17th, 36 years ago. March 1st was my brother, Orville’s birthday, and we are coming up to the anniversary of his passing on the 27th, six years ago. I lost my closest brother, Gary on March 25th one year after Orville. My sister Gail, God rest her sweet soul, was diagnosed and surgery performed for non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma in March and given a fatal diagnoses. There’s an old Merle Haggard song, “If We Make it Through December”…that my sisters, Doris and Dianne and I have changed it to “If We Make it Through March.”
So with heavier steps I venture off the sidewalk down the worn walking trail, widened and cleared from the underbrush last summer. I love it here. It’s peaceful and I feel like I’m actually in the woods, despite the distant sounds of a car or occasional dog barking. It’s a pleasant walk and as I make my way half-way around, there’s a huge oak tree that fell over that was allowed to stay because it created a natural archway over the trail. Wishing that I had brought my camera, I take a seat on one of its giant extended limbs and close my eyes to listen and absorb the sounds around me. A sudden strong breeze blows my hair that teases the cheek of my face. It feels good and so does the sunshine penetrating my velour jog suit. A woodpecker pecks on a bare hardwood tree to my left and to my right; I hear the same crows in the open field still squawking. I remember how my mother had a ‘pet’ crow she called Jack that came to the back door of her apartment in Gulfport, MS every morning. Someone left an old metal highchair out back so she placed cornbread or other tidbits on the tray for the crow. I laughed and asked her how she knew it was the same one. She answered, “Because I just know—he comes to talk to me every day!” I couldn’t argue with that, now could I? Oh, how I miss her and her infectious laughter.
Other birds are singing, some of whom I can’t identify, but their sounds are lovely and full of promised spring. I open my eyes and around me are piles of dead leaves now decaying and moldy, resembling death…from dust to dust…
A tear slips down my face and I close my eyes again, thanking the Lord, for all that I’ve been given in my life, the happiness, the grief, the love, all that has made me who I have become in my spirit through His spirit. I pray for my family and friends that He will touch their hearts and lives as only He can with His positive love, to walk closer to Him, reminding us of the mysterious feeling of discontent necessary to pull back the veil just a tad so that we know with certainty that earthly things are fleeting.
A small limb falls to the straw, sounding loud in the stillness and I decide that I need to get back to working on my galleys, but vowing not to let March get me down, despite some personal issues that I face.
THERE WAS one bright shining moment that occurred on March 4th, 1971. My beautiful daughter, Sheri made her way squealing into this world at 5:04 PM. All 8lbs. 4oz. of her. I still think of her as twenty years old, and find it hard to believe all those years have passed. Sheri has brought our family so much joy and has truly blessed our lives by being who she is. She’s intelligent and educated with a Master’s in Elementary Education, very affectionate and loves to laugh like my mama did. She’s crazy for chocolate! I don’t know if I’ve ever known anyone more conscientious…except me, hehe. She has given us three wonderful grandchildren and a husband, Bobby, who is like our own son. Nothing could be better than that. She’s strong in her love of the Lord and gives back with her talent of singing to Him as she cantors for her church. She plays piano if she gets a free moment when she is not carting kids off to basketball, piano, cheering or walking her dog, Frankie. If she has any faults it is her dislike of cooking. She’s a bit of a worrier and perfectionists like me. She’s also a very good editor!
Sheri called me yesterday and related something funny. She said, “I was walking around outside with my coffee pulling weeds and thought, Oh my gosh, I have become my parents.” We both laughed because she used to wonder how we could be outside in the warm weather or the summer, with our coffee cup in hand, pulling a stray weed or two. How indeed?
Sheri, I wish you enough sunny days in your life to keep your outlook bright, no matter how dark your days may seem. HAPPY BIRTHDAY, DEAREST SHERI BERRI!!!